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As Chief Engineer of the Los Angeles County Flood Control District, I am proud to present to the people and communities of Los Angeles County this visionary and holistic planning document for a reimagining of the iconic Los Angeles River.
The inhabitants of this great region have always gravitated towards its rivers, lakes and ocean as sources of nourishment, commerce and community life. In fact, the First Peoples of this ancestral and unceded territory—the Gabrieleño Tongva, Fernandeño Tataviam and Ventureño Chumash—are the original stewards of this land, air, and water, and the County of Los Angeles supports them as they continue to lift up their stories and cultures.
It is with great humility that I acknowledge that we are but temporary stewards of our natural and built environments. And it is with current and future generations in mind that we seek to reimagine the Los Angeles River to foster a more positive, equitable future for all LA County residents.
The Los Angeles River was channelized during the mid-20th Century to protect lives and property. Now, there are nearly a million people who live within a mile of this cultural landmark, so it is essential that this Plan elevate those community voices.
At every step of this three-year planning process, we pursued opportunities to inform and engage community members in two-way conversations that were both transparent and culturally competent. We also explored areas of social, cultural, and ecological disparity, including homelessness, gentrification, public open space, public health, and community and environmental inequities in infrastructure.
The result is a Plan that recognizes the river as a complex “system of systems” in which people, places and the environment are encouraged to coexist, intermingle and thrive.
While this 25-year Plan is non-prescriptive, I invite civic leaders, planners, municipal agencies and communities to embrace its vision, tools and methods to foster greater equity and overall outcomes for all people who live, work and play along the 51-miles of the Los Angeles River.
Mark Pestrella, PE
Director of Public Works